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MCH Research Networks & Single Investigator Innovation Programs
The Office of Epidemiology and Research, Division of Research supports Research Networks that focus on collaborative, multisite research and dissemination of information:
Adolescent and Young Adult Health Research Network (AYAH-RN)
The Adolescent and Young Adult Health Research Network (AYAH-RN) develops and maintains a transdisciplinary, multi-site research network that accelerates the translation of science into maternal and child health (MCH) adolescent and young adult health practice. The network promotes scientific collaboration and develops additional research capacity in the field of adolescent and young adult health.
AYAH-RN is one of the seven (7) university-based Leadership Education in Adolescent Health (LEAH) projects. The LEAH projects work in collaboration with the Center for the Developing Adolescent, University of California, Berkeley—a national leader in transdisciplinary research that examines the implications of neuroscience for adolescent and young adult health practice—and the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine (SAHM), the only health professional organization dedicated exclusively to advancing the health and well-being of adolescents and young adults.
MCHB grant # UA6MC27378. MCH Adolescent and Young Adult Health Research Network
The Autism Intervention Research Network on Behavioral Health (AIR-B)
The Autism Intervention Research Network on Behavioral Health (AIR-B) deploys effective and sustainable evidence-based practices that will serve a broad community base to improve outcomes for all children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). AIR-B’s efforts are guided by four (4) major tenets: (1) Conducting research on evidence-based practices with a particular emphasis on evaluating core deficits of social communication in children with ASD; (2) Validating existing tools and developing evidencebased guidelines; (3) Disseminating information on research, guidelines and validated tools; and (4) Training the next generation of autism researchers.
AIR-B maintains an interdisciplinary, multicenter research forum for scientific collaboration and infrastructure building, which provides national leadership in research designed to improve the behavioral, mental, social, and/or cognitive health and well-being of children and adolescents
MCHB grant # UA3MC11055 Autism Intervention Research Network on Behavioral Health (AIR-B).
Autism Intervention Research Network on Physical Health (AIR-P)
The Autism Intervention Research Network on Physical Health (AIR-P) improves the physical health and well-being of children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other developmental disabilities (DD). AIR-P advances HRSA’s goal of addressing disparities and improving health equity by focusing on individuals from underserved populations across United States. As a multisite Learning Network, AIR-P provides a collaborative laboratory for developing and testing evidence-based interventions and accelerating the adoption of effective interventions to improve care and reduce disparities.
Through the Learning Network model, AIR-P includes cycles of tests of change and spread of successful interventions to underserved communities, guideline development, and disseminating findings nationwide. Among other research and practice innovation activities, AIR-P:
- Conducts multisite research on evidence-based interventions that improve physical health of children and adolescents with ASD and DD, especially underserved populations;
- Develops and disseminates guidelines for interventions; and
- Accelerates the adoption of effective interventions into practice settings and communities.
MCHB grant # UA3MC11054 Autism Intervention Research Network on Behavioral Health (AIR-P).
Autism Longitudinal Data Project (ALDP)
The Autism Longitudinal Data Project (ALDP) develops deep insight into early life origins of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other developmental disabilities (DD), and to develop a new paradigm towards early prediction and early prevention of ASD and DD. The ALDP is motivated by growing scientific evidence that ASD and DD may originate in-utero, but there is a lack of prospective birth cohort studies, especially in U.S. urban low- income minority populations.
Advancement in the field is critical to halt or reverse the rapid rising trend of ASD in the U.S. through early prediction and early prevention to reduce the incidence of ASD and DD. This is also cost-beneficial in the long-run given that ASD and DD tend to persist across the lifespan.
The ALDP conducts a comprehensive and systematic investigation of maternal and fetal metabolic characteristics in relation to the development of ASD and DD based on a life-course framework. It will simultaneously consider maternal, fetal, and placental factors and leverage the well-established Boston Birth Cohort (BBC). Specifically, ALDP:
- Applies cutting-edge metabolomic technologies, which allow for a high-throughput and comprehensive characterization of major circulating metabolites in maternal and cord blood samples, reflecting the biological state of genetic and environmental interactions;
- Examines the role of placental histological findings and fetal longitudinal growth patterns;
- Applies advanced computational modeling to understand the complex interplay of a myriad pre-, peri-, and post-natal factors in the development of ASD and DD; and
- Provides leadership in education, training and dissemination.
Autism Transitions Research Project (ATRP)
The Autism Transitions Research Project (ATRP) advances the evidence base on factors associated with healthy life transitions among adolescents and young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) who are transitioning to adulthood. ATRP conducts programmatic studies examining the different factors that potentially affects transition to adulthood for children and adolescents with ASD.
Specifically, ATRP conducts three (3) programmatic studies that will:
- Increase the supply of useful population-based evidence available to researchers, service providers, policy makers, educators, adolescents and young adults with ASD and their families, and the public;
- Address the critical need for ASD transitions research that examines the influence of the social environment and not just individual-level factors; and
- Provide national leadership and education in research for transitioning youths with ASD.
MCHB grant # UJ2MC31073 Autism Transitions Research Project (ATRP)
Bridging the Word Gap Research Network (BWG)
The Bridging the Word Gap Research Network (BWG) is a collaboration of nationally recognized researchers and practitioners established to develop and maintain the infrastructure for an interdisciplinary research network promoting scientific collaboration to reduce the “Word Gap.” The word gap is the difference between the number of words children from lowincome families are exposed to as compared to children from high-income families. By age three, children from low-income families often hear 30 million fewer words than those from higher-income families. BWG designs and implements intervention research to reduce the word gap, disseminates critical information, and fosters educational activities regarding language- promoting interventions, and advances the nation’s capacity to conduct this research. BWG strives to reduce the number of children who enter school with delays in language and early literacy.
BWG identifies and provides different activities that will make a meaningful difference in the language development of young children in poverty, ultimately promoting their readiness for school. For more than 30 years, researchers have known that low-income children often enter school at a serious disadvantage because they did not have the opportunity to experience home and school environments that encourage language development. BWG has identified effective strategies that parents, caregivers, and communities can employ to create stronger early language learning environments.
MCHB grant # UA6MC27762 Bridging the Word Gap Research Network
Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs Research Network (CYSHCNet)
The Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs Research Network (CYSHCNet) helps children and youth with special health care needs (CYSHCN) and their families by advancing knowledge and implementing optimal health systems through innovative, rigorous multi-site studies, far-reaching dissemination of findings, meaningful partnerships with families, and strong training of emerging CYSHCN investigators.
CYSHCNet is a network of committed researchers, families, clinicians, and administrative and policy partners who work together strategically to accelerate the generation and application of knowledge needed to best help CYSHCN and their families. The network strives to not only conduct nationally-relevant health systems research, but also to increase research capacity by training emerging CYSHCN investigators.
MCHB Grant #UA6MC31101 Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs Research Network (CYSHCNet).
Confederated Pediatric Electronic Health Record Research Network (CPEHRRN)
The purpose of this project is to conduct cutting-edge pharmacoepidemiological studies using electronic health records (EHRs) from approximately 800,000 U.S. children. This five-year study will use EHR-based practice systems and other electronic data to conduct observational comparative effectiveness research (CER) on the long-term side effects of pharmaceutical treatments in children, including atypical antipsychotic medications, psychotropic medication polypharmacy, and asthma medications. This project will also investigate the prevalence and management of pediatric hypertension and will launch a trial of EHR-based clinical decision support in the management of elevated blood pressure. Dubbed “CER2” – which stands for “Comparative Effectiveness Research through Collaborative Electronic Reporting” – this confederated EHR network builds on the ePROS subnetwork and involves pooling data from patient populations from four other networks and working closely with noted EHR research collaborators based at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), Boston University, MetroHealth/Case Western Reserve University, and the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). This project is funded in partnership with the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development.
MCHB grant # R40MC24943 Primary Care Drug Therapeutics CER in a Pediatric EHR Network.
Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics Research Network (DBPNet)
The Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics Research Network (DBPNet) conducts national collaborative, interdisciplinary research in developmental behavioral pediatrics (DBP) that advances clinical practice, supports research training, and optimizes the health and functional status of children with developmental and behavioral concerns and disorders, including children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other developmental disabilities (DD). The network offers a unique platform for practitioner-researchers in DBP to apply research to practice in the evaluation of children for a wide range of developmental and behavioral disorders.
DBPNet focuses on a broad range of developmentalbehavioral disorders that includes, but is not limited to, ASD, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and other DD. The network plays a unique and important role in investigating assessment practices, biomarkers, and psychosocial and pharmacological interventions for symptoms that occur commonly across many neurodevelopmental disorders. DBPNet:
- Provides an infrastructure to support rapid scientific discovery;
- Conducts ongoing, interactive, and collaborative activities among network members;
- Leverages cutting-edge research projects and leverage network capacity to compete for grant opportunities from other federal agencies or private foundations; and
- Fosters research and mentorship opportunities for new investigators.
MCHB grant # UA3MC20218 Creating the Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics Research Network.
Health Care Transitions Research Network for Youth and Young Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders (HCT-RN)
The Health Care Transitions Research Network (HCT-RN) addresses the critical lack of research on life course influences at the person, family, community, health system, and policy levels prior to, during, and following the transition of youth and young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) from pediatric to adult care settings.
HCT-RN provides an interdisciplinary, national, multicenter research forum for scientific collaboration and infrastructure-building with a focus on research designed to improve health care transitions and promote an optimal transition to adulthood (including physical, psychosocial, educational, and vocational outcomes) among youth and young adults with ASD.
Home Visiting Research & Development Platform / Home Visiting Applied Research Collaborative
The Home Visiting Research and Development (HARC R&D) Platform, part of the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program research portfolio, is a transdisciplinary research network (RN) for scientific collaboration and infrastructure building for innovative home visiting research. HARC R&D Platform plans, develops, and sustains a network of early childhood development and learning researchers and practitioners to frame, implement, and report on innovative, transdisciplinary research related to precision interventions to improve meaningful outcomes for at-risk families and communities. The network aims to integrate the principles of breakthrough impact research into the HARC R&D Platform’s work, secure external research funding, and accelerate the translation of research results into policy and practice to improve outcomes. The HARC R&D Platform builds upon the accomplishments of its predecessor, the Home Visiting Applied Research Collaborative (HARC).
The overarching purpose of the HARC R&D Platform is to:
- Develop strategies to integrate breakthrough impact research principles into research on precision home visiting;
- Build capacity for the field to use these methods in precision home visiting research
- Maintain and expand a network of early childhood researchers and practitioners;
- Share information about the HARC R&D Platform agenda with early childhood research partners, including funders; and
- Disseminate research findings to research, practitioner, and stakeholder groups.
MCHB grant # UD5MC24070 Home Visiting Research and Development.
Life Course Interventions Research Network (LCI-RN)
The Maternal and Child Health Life Course Intervention Research Network (LCI-RN) provides a unifying infrastructure for researchers, practitioners, policymakers and stakeholders to promote the development, dissemination, implementation, translation, and application of the Life Course Research Agenda (LCRA). LCI-RN provides researchers, practitioners, and policymakers with a transdisciplinary and transformative mechanism for interacting, sharing information, and engaging in collaborative and innovative projects that advance life course health development (LCHD) research and enables evidence- based practice and policymaking.
The purpose of this program is to coordinate a national platform to support research studies and to advance knowledge in disease prevention and health promotion across the life course by supporting a national network of interdisciplinary maternal and child health (MCH) researchers who would design, plan, and implement multi-site life course intervention research studies that will contribute to the improvement of health outcomes for MCH populations, including children with special healthcare needs.
MCHB grant # UA6MC32492 Life Course Interventions Research Network (LCI-RN)
Maternal and Child Health Measurement Research Network (MRN)
The Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Measurement Research Network (MRN) provides leadership in the development and validation of health measures to better address the needs of researchers and programs serving MCH populations. MRN is an interdisciplinary, collaborative network of experts who are active in the measurement of health and well-being of MCH populations.
MRN advances the availability and effective use of valid and actionable MCH measures to ensure datadriven innovation and shared accountability for improving outcomes and systems performance on behalf of MCH populations. MRN:
- Creates a shared vision for the landscape of MCH measures needed for monitoring, accountability, research, evaluation, improvement and public education;
- Leverages existing opportunities, addresses key gaps to ensure effective MCH measurement, and guides the development and harmonization of measures across programs; and
- Identifies priority MCH measures for application into practices, policies, and processes.
MCHB grant # UA6MC 26253 Maternal and Child Health Measurement Research Network (MRN).
Pregnancy Related Care Research Network (PRCRN)
The Pregnancy-Related Care Research Network (PRCRN) is a national collective of practicing obstetricians-gynecologists that conduct cutting- edge research. The studies generate data pertaining to provider practice patterns, clinical experiences, basic knowledge, professional training, access to resource materials, and educational needs. The PRCRN assesses the clinical care patterns and educational needs of health care providers in order to support efforts to improve health care for mothers and their children. In addition, the PRCRN provides the opportunity for officebased research on clinical outcomes. This Network includes medical practices that are committed to conducting studies that require access to patient medical data through extraction from medical records and collection of data during patient visits.
PRCRN provides empirical data to assess and improve health care for women and their children. PRCRN:
- Assess the opinions, knowledge, clinical practice, and educational needs of physicians regarding areas of clinical medicine relevant to maternal and child health;
- Develop and maintain a network of medical practices that participate in office-based research utilizing robust medical health record data and direct collection of data from subjects;
- Train and mentor students and young researchers/physicians and provide logistical support to encourage young investigators to engage in research; and Assess the efficacy of clinical practice guidelines and inform and support educational efforts.
MCHB grant # UA6MC31609 (UA6MC19010) Maternal and Child Health Research Network on Pregnancy-related Care: The Collaborative Ambulatory Research Network (CARN)
MCH Research Network on Promoting Healthy Weight (HWRN)
The Healthy Weight Research Network (HWRN) for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other Developmental Disabilities (ASD/DD) is an interdisciplinary research network (RN) that leads and promotes coordinated research activities related to promoting healthy weight among children and youth with ASD/DD. Considerable research exists on obesity in children generally; however, there is limited research on obesity among children with ASD/DD. The HWRN strives to address this research gap and build research capacity to determine the best evidence-based practices for the prevention and treatment of obesity in this high-risk group.
The HWRN addresses the need for better knowledge and understanding of the scope of overweight and obesity and key risk factors among children and adolescents with ASD/DD. Network members are developing obesity prevention and interventions, including anticipatory guidance to parents and health care providers, and innovative programs that address the interacting physical, social, behavioral, and environmental determinants of overweight and obesity at the individual, family, school, neighborhood, and community levels. The HWRN:
- Conducts research on the prevalence of overweight/obesity, key risk factors, and obesityrelated health conditions among youth with ASD/DDs including underserved populations;
- Engages in formative work on physical activity and healthy eating;
- Conducts feasibility studies on interventions designed to prevent/reduce excessive weight; and
- Disseminates findings and guidelines to broad research, clinical, and lay audiences.
Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network (PECARN)
The Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network (PECARN) provides the leadership and infrastructure needed to promote multi-center studies, support research collaboration among Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) investigators, and promote informational exchanges between EMSC investigators and providers.1
PECARN researchers conduct high priority, highquality multi-institutional research, which requires a network to best have impact on the prevention and management of acute illnesses and injuries in children and youth of all ages across the continuum of emergency medicine health care. PECARN works with diverse demographic populations and varied geographical regions to promote the health of children in all phases of care. Findings from PECARN studies have impacted emergency care practice and constitute an important resource for all children. PECARN creates public use datasets from the studies that are available to other researchers. PECARN research studies focus on trauma, critical illness, and behavioral health problems managed through pediatric emergency care in the prehospital emergency setting and the emergency department.
Pediatric Research in Office Settings (ePROS) Networks
The Pediatric Primary Care Electronic Health Record (EHR) Network for Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER) is known as “ePROS.” This multi-million dollar research network was created to address critical child health issues and generate new knowledge to improve pediatric practice. ePROS is developing innovative methods to extract and standardize selected data from practices with diverse EHR vendors and systems. The network will create the capacity to offer point-of-care clinical decision support and perform a CER study on the pharmacologic treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in pediatric primary care sites nationwide through the use of certified EHR data. First funded in 2010 through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, ePROS is a subnetwork of the Pediatric Research in Office Settings (PROS) network.
Pediatric Research in Office Settings (PROS) Networks
The mission of the Pediatric Research in Office Settings (PROS) Research Network is to improve the health of children and enhance primary care practice by developing, conducting, and fostering collaborative research on critical child health issues. PROS aims to generate new knowledge about the effectiveness of pediatric primary care services, identify the obstacles to providing effective care, and help practitioners overcome those obstacles to deliver the most effective care possible. In operation for over 30 years, PROS is the national practice-based research network (RN) of pediatric primary care practitioners of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
As an RN, PROS advances its mission by defining and advancing the best care for all children, performing research that is meaningful to pediatric practitioners, creating a community of caring researchers and practitioners, and fostering ongoing research relationships and camaraderie to advance child health research and invigorate clinicians. In achieving this purpose, PROS cultivates relationships within the broader child health research community, values the unique contributions of every member and participant, and implements studies that emphasize and strive for elegance, simplicity and practicality.
MCHB grant # UA6MC15585 National Research Network To Improve Child Health.
Competitions for the Research Networks do not happen annually. Information about open Research Network Competitions is published on the Office of Epidemiology and Research, Division of Research website when it is available. You may also join the MCH Research Listserv if you wish to receive alerts about open competitions when they become available.